Rejoice prep football fans, the playoffs are upon us.
Here’s a quick rundown of local Twin Harbors teams in this week’s crossover matchups, with the 2B section games taking place today while the 1A games kickoff on Friday, with winners earning trips to their respective state tournaments.
Columbia-White Salmon at Montesano
Back on Oct. 13, the fortunes of the Montesano Bulldogs football team didn’t look too good. They were a day removed from a crushing loss to league-rival Hoquiam, had just suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in several years, and were an injury-riddled team without several weapons that have typified Monte teams under head coach Terry Jensen’s tenure.
My how things can change in two weeks. After an impromptu forfeit win over a battered Tenino team allowed them to get healthy Monte won an exhilarating last-minute victory over rival Elma last Friday to earn the 1A Evergreen league’s No. 2 spot.
Monte (7-2, 3-1) will host a familiar foe in Friday’s crossover game: Columbia-White Salmon. Back in September, Monte doubled up on the Bruins in a 24-12 Bulldogs victory in Monte.
In the Trico league this season, CWS (5-4, 3-2) managed wins over Castle Rock, Seton Catholic and King’s Way Christian — the bottom three teams in the league — but had less luck in the last two weeks of the regular season, losing to both La Center and Stevenson by eight points or less.
With Monte looking like its old self once again and a state playoff bid on the line it could be a long night for the Bruins when the two teams square off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Jack Rottle Field.
Elma at La Center
If not for two plays this season, the Elma Eagles could easily be undefeated and enjoying a first-round bye as the 1A Evergreen league champions.
But after two heartbreaking losses this season — a one-point loss to league-champion Hoquiam on Oct. 5 and a last-minute 25-19 defeat at the hands of arch-rival Montesano last Friday — the Eagles find themselves sitting in the league’s No. 3 spot entering Friday’s crossover games.
But though they are faced with winning a playoff road game if they hope to earn a trip to the 1A State Championship Tournament, the Eagles are actually sitting in a good position, as arguably the best No. 3 seed in the 1A section.
Furthermore, Elma has a very winnable game against a La Center team that finished 4-5 this season, one of those losses being a 40-14 loss to Hoquiam on Sept. 14, the Wildcats’ worst loss of the season.
La Center (4-5, 4-1 Trico 1A) caught fire once in league-play, scoring 35 points or more in four of its five league games.
The Trico league overall was down this season. Outside of league-champion Stevenson (7-1, 5-0) only Columbia-White Salmon (5-4, 3-2) had a winning overall record.
Elma (7-2, 2-2 Evergreen 1A) will be looking to earn a trip to the state tournament when they take on La Center at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Winlock at PWV
For Pe Ell-Willapa Valley to come away victorious against Winlock, they’ll have to slow down the Cardinals athletic quarterback.
Winlock is headed to the postseason for the first time since 2010 thanks in large part to quarterback Bryce Cline.
The Cardinals finished the season with consecutive losses to Toledo on Oct. 19 and Wahkiakum on Oct. 26, but the junior quarterback performed well in the playoff-clinching victory against Toutle Lake, going 8-for-11 passing for 173 yards and 96 yards rushing.
While Winlock looks for more offense after two recent blowout losses, the Titans haven’t had too much trouble getting the ball into the end zone.
Max Smith has emerged as the main offensive catalyst after a series of injuries to start the season and has 987 rushing yards to go along with 13 touchdowns on the ground.
PWV’s defense has made it difficult for the opposition as well. Cornerback Carson Cox has four picks this season while linebacker Kiah Carter has a team-leading 69 tackles.
The two teams will meet in Menlo with a chance to enter the state tournament bracket tonight at 7 p.m.
Ocosta at Adna
Ocosta qualified for the postseason on the last week of the season and will have to go through a talented Adna team if they want to go to the state playoffs.
Adna’s Braden Thomas has had success throwing and running the ball this season. The Pirates leading rusher has 681 yards on the ground and 683 through the air this season.
Thomas isn’t the Pirate’s only option on the ground. Running back Cole Fay has 653 yards on the ground this season and has found the end zone six times.
Ocosta is led by running back Kobe Beck, who has 898 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Beck’s versatility has also been on display this season as he has 22 receptions for 345 yards and five touchdowns.
The Wildcats and Pirates will both try to establish the ground game when they meet at Adna High School at 7 p.m. tonight.
Wahkiakum vs. Raymond, at Stewart Field
The Mules have suffered some injuries late in the season but will try to put that aside when they take on Raymond tonight.
The neutral-site game sees the Mules coming in at less than 100 percent, having lost seven starters since the season kicked off.
On a roster that features only five upperclassmen, running back Quinten Nelson led the Mules with 112 rush yards and a touchdown on 12 carries against Winlock last week.
Raymond will counter with one of the strongest running games in the county this season. The two-headed monster of McCartney Maden and Patrick Edwards has rushed for 1,085 and 1,398 yards, respectively.
Both teams will head to Aberdeen in a game scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. tonight.
Taholah vs. Rainier Christian, at Kentwood High School, 7 p.m., Friday.